29 December 2021

Looking Back at 2021 at Tilly and the Buttons!

Looking Back at 2021 at Tilly and the Buttons!

2021 is almost over so it’s time to look back at what we got up to in Tilly and the Buttons, from the exciting new products we launched into the world, to stuff happening behind the scenes. 

Let’s face it, this year has been another bizarre one! While we’ve emerged blinking into the daylight from a series of lockdowns in the UK, at the time of writing the Omicron variant has recently emerged to taunt us. So we may be feeling more optimistic than last year, but we’re certainly not out of the woods yet! 

Looking Back at 2021 at Tilly and the Buttons!

Like many business owners, I (Tilly) usually like to plan everything in meticulous detail. Yet there is still so much uncertainty thanks to the pandemic, so I’ve had to (reluctantly) learn to prepare as much as we can, while knowing that a lot is still unknown and out of our hands. In the last couple of years, we’ve had to pivot and adapt so many times due to logistical challenges presented by Covid (as well as Brexit). Adding to this may have heard other small business owners lament that sales have been so up and down in the past couple of years, which adds an extra layer of insecurity when making business decisions. But we are still here and going strong, more determined than ever to spread the joy of sewing!

22 December 2021

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2021

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2021
Bethany Rutter by Jane Looker Photography

What a rollercoaster of a year 2021 has been! Before the end of the year is up Tilly will be sharing her reflections on the blog, but today we're sharing our top ten blog posts of 2021, as read by YOU!

The Tilly and the Buttons blog continues to be our place to share handy sewing tips & tricks, inspiration for your makes and a whole host of other crafty content. Keep your eyes peeled, because for 2022 we've got BIG plans for this blog and we can't wait to get stuck in - eek.

Here are some of the most popular blog posts from the last 12 months in case you've missed them or just want to take another look :) 



Try a cute detachable collar to style up your outfits this season! Perhaps you're loving the oversized and statement collar blouses that are popping up but aren't ready to commit to the full look? We've got you covered with our FREE detachable collar pattern download. Perfect for pairing with our Billie Sweatshirt or Indigo Smock sewing patterns for some on-trend layering.



Since releasing her first book in 2014, Tilly has written three titles - all published by Quadrille (Hardie Grant) - that pass on her tips and tricks. They all contain a range of sewing patterns, so you can practise techniques while making gorgeous clothes that you will be proud to say you made yourself! This blog post showcases all the sewing patterns across all the books - wow!



Let's face it, threading an overlocker or serger isn't the most fun you could be having while sat at your sewing table. The good news is that it's actually quite rare that you'd need to thread it from scratch. More often than not, you can get away with this easy, speedy method of changing the threads - a method that doesn't require you to navigate all those hooks and loopers. Hooray!

15 December 2021

Speedy Makes For Last Minute Pressies!

Speedy Makes For Last Minute Pressies!

Aren't handmade Christmas pressies just the best!? They can also be a life saver to those of us who may or may not have left a large portion of their Christmas shopping until the last minute... Fear not makers! 

Below, we're sharing our favourite quick and easy sewing projects to make for Christmas presents for all the family. If you're short on time, don't worry, lots of these projects will take less than an hour and minimal fabric. Win-win!

Our FREE sewing pattern downloads are now listed in the shop (not just on the blog), for easy access. Check out our freebie sewing patterns!

Continue reading for some perfect handmade stocking-stuffer gift ideas...

Face Masks

Perhaps an unconventional Christmas pressie, but face masks have become the unexpected, but a necessary accessory of recent times and they don't have to be boring! Perfect for using up the fabric scraps you've collected this year, sew your loved ones some stylish masks to match any outfit.

You don't need to download a pattern, simply check out our face mask tutorial to see how to quickly draft your own...


Eye Masks

Speedy Makes For Last Minute Pressies!

Whilst we're talking masks, check out our lovely FREE Fifi eye mask sewing pattern. There’s something so indulgent about slipping on an eye mask to help you get enough beauty sleep. Line it with silky satin for a touch of luxury to your gift.

8 December 2021

How to Insert a Sleeve

How to insert a sleeve - Tilly and the Buttons

Attaching a set-in sleeve, also known as sewing a sleeve “on the round”, is when the two circles of the sleeve head and armhole are joined together after the underarm and side seam have been stitched. It’s a bit fiddlier than attaching them while the pieces are still flat but it allows you to create beautiful shaping at the shoulders on your me-made clothing. Seen here on a lovely polka dot Mathilde blouse.

How to insert a sleeve - Tilly and the Buttons

The reason we’re adding fullness at the shoulder is to help the fabric curve over your shoulder where it sticks out from your body. A sleeve head is often at least 2cm (3/4in) bigger than the armhole - on some sewing patterns it's even bigger to create more visible gathering as a design detail. This excess fabric is gathered in so the circumference of the sleeve head and armhole match when sewn together, creating volume in the fabric to accommodate your shoulder.

In case you’re interested, not all sleeves are inserted this way. Some sleeve heads don’t have any ease at all. An alternative method - often used in shirt-making and on jersey t-shirts - is to insert sleeves “on the flat”, in other words, stitched flat against the armhole before the bodice side seam and sleeve underarm sleeve are joined.

Anyway, that’s the theory over – let’s get on with the sewing!

In the tutorial below, Abi is sewing lovely set-in sleeves to a Martha dress

How to insert a sleeve - Tilly and the Buttons

1 December 2021

Sew a Perfect Party Dress!

Sew a Perfect Party Dress!

Party season is upon us, sewists! It's the perfect excuse to sew up those extra fancy, luxurious makes you've been dreaming up all year. Perhaps you've been lusting after designer velvet dresses or swishy sequin skirts, this blog post will get you in the mood for whatever your festive party feel.


However... we're advocates of wearing your fanciest dresses whenever you want. So don't pack your make away after one wear. Love it, wear it and restyle it to give it the love it deserves!

Simple Chic

Indigo dress with gold confetti falling from above

Indigo is one of our all-time best-selling sewing patterns. Just check out the super inspiring #SewingIndigo hashtag on Instagram (with over 4000 posts!) to see what the online sewing community makes of it. 

Recently re-released in our UK 16-34 size band AND with a trendy puff sleeve add-on update, now is the best time to get your copy and join the Indigo bandwagon! 

Indigo collage with tech drawings.

With a whopping possible 60 combinations to make with our Indigo Add-on bundle, you'll be whipping up simple smock dresses left, right and centre! So if you want to make your own party dress this season but are short on time, our simple Indigo pattern is the perfect place to start.

Need some fabric inspo for Indigo? GO HERE
Want to know how to sew a smooth dart? GO HERE

24 November 2021

Black Friday Sale! Team Button's Picks

Black Friday Sale! Team Button's Picks

It's our biggest sewing pattern sale of the year and we're treating you with up to a whopping 40% off individual sewing patterns and more. Starting at 20% off on our best selling designs and books - it's too good to miss!

The sale ends Tuesday 30th November at 9am (BST) 2021. All discounts have been applied. Our Black Friday sale excludes online workshops, gift cards, gift wrapping and bundles.

Remember, it's a super busy shopping season! Read our Festive FAQs for important delivery information, gifting options & more.

Black Friday Sale! Team Button's Picks





Team Buttons have picked out their sale faves below:

Tilly's Picks:

Tilly's eyeing up the Joe PJ bottoms for sewing as prezzies this Christmas and she never leaves home without her Eden coat.

Joe PJs (40% off!) - Eden Coat (40% off!)

Nikki's Picks:

Nikki has plans for her 4th and 5th Lyra shirt dresses and tis the season for Billie sweaters after all!

Lyra Dress (20% off!) - Billie Sweater (20% off!)

Kate's Picks:

Kate's eyeing up another Freya top to add to her collection, ideal for pairing with her Bobbi pinafore.

Freya from 'Stretch!' (20% off!) - Bobbi Pinafore (30% off!)

Rhi's Picks:

Rhi's swooning over velvet Joni dresses, perfect for the party season. Plus the Rosa shirt will be a great pattern for her cat-themed festive shirt!

Joni from 'Stretch!' (20% off!) - Rosa Shirt (30% off!)

Frances' Picks:

Frances has picked the ideal handmade combo for Autumn/Winter dressing with our snuggly Nora and her fave's; the Jessa tousers.

Nora Top (30% off!) - Jessa Trousers (40% off!)

Abi's Picks:

Abi's currently sewing Martha for her wedding dress and the Iris knickers are her fave TATB pattern of the year.

Martha Dress (40% off!) - Iris Knickers (20% off!) 


Happy shopping, sewists!

17 November 2021

How to Select Your Sewing Pattern Size

How to select your sewing pattern size

Understanding sewing pattern sizes can give anyone a headache, especially if you're a newbie to all this, but this blog post will break it down into manageable chunks so you can confidently select your Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern size and get your sew on the road!
Whatever sewing pattern you're making, this post will outline how to choose the size that actually fits you, how to combine multiple sizes, and how to avoid patterns coming up larger or smaller than you expected. Along with handy links to our in-depth fitting blog posts including full bust adjustments, shoulder adjustments and more...

How to select your sewing pattern size
Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern and sewing tools.

How do you work out which size sewing pattern to cut out?

Our sewing patterns are labelled with generic numbers from 1 up to 8, 10 or 15 (depending on the pattern), with the ready-to-wear sizing system (8, 10, 12 etc) listed as a secondary reference point only.

This is because the ready-to-wear sizing system can cause a lot of confusion and frustration, as the measurements vary between countries, between shops, and between sewing pattern companies - we all know the pain of going jeans shopping!

While it may be useful when you’re shopping for clothes, it doesn’t seem to make much sense when sewing our own clothes – when we should have more control over fitting to our unique shape, size and bust-waist-hip ratio. We'd encourage you to ignore “standard” sizes and instead look at the exact body measurements and the finished garment measurements listed on our sewing patterns. This way we have more control over getting a better fit rather than obsessing over a generic number. Hooray!

Billie sewing pattern booklet showing highlighted sizes

10 November 2021

Indigo's Been Upgraded! NEW Add-on & UK 16-34 Size Band is Here

YASSS, our best-selling Indigo smock dress sewing pattern in sizes UK 16-34 has arrived, but that's not all folks... Our popular Indigo Add-on sewing pattern has also been upgraded to include a dreamy puff sleeve - available in both our new UK 16-34 size range and our existing UK 6-24 size range - yay! 

If you're not already familiar with them, you're going to love the Indigo and Indigo Add-on patterns. Indigo is the perfect top or dress to wear at any occasion, in any weather, and in looooads of different fabrics. Going out with friends for lunch? Throw on an Indigo! Doing the school run? Indigo! Living your best life at home when it's cold and rainy outside? Indigo! Ok you get the idea, Indigo is as versatile as she is beautiful. 

There's never been so much exciting content to cram into a blog post, so get comfy and get excited because this is one pattern extravaganza you don't want to miss...

Who doesn't love feeling comfy and stylish? This is exactly what Tilly had in mind when she designed Indigo. She found herself craving easy fitting garments that made an impact whilst still being oh-so-comfortable. And as they say, the rest is history. Indigo is an easy-breezy top or dress with gorgeous added details to make your heart flutter.

3 November 2021

How To Make Your Own Period Underwear! Part 2: Cutting Your Fabric & Sewing

How To Make Your Own Period Underwear! Part 2: Cutting Your Fabric & Sewing

Are you ready to try sewing your own eco-friendly period underwear? Want to make your own reusable knickers for that time of the month without sacrificing pretty or fun designs? Well, look no further than this period underwear sewing tutorial using the Iris knickers sewing pattern, thanks to this guest post by the pattern's designer, Hannah of Evie La Lùve.

In 'How To Make Your Own Period Underwear! Part 1' we covered the types of new fabric you'll need to source for making your own period pants, and a step-by-step guide showing you how to alter your Iris knickers sewing pattern accordingly. 

View 'Iris Knickers Period Pants Hack! Part 1: Fabric & Alterations'

With your adapted Iris period underwear sewing pattern ready and your fabrics lined up, it's time to get to the good stuff: the sewing - woo!

flat lay of two finished pairs

Back over to Hannah...

Cutting fabrics 

When you are cutting your waterproof layer, it’s best to use fabric weights and a rotary cutter instead of pins so you aren’t putting any unnecessary holes in the layer for moisture to leak through! For the other fabrics, use the directions on your pattern pieces to cut out your materials.

Once all your pattern pieces are cut out you should have:

  • Main fabric: 1 x Front, 1 x Back, 1 x Crotch 
  • Lining: 1 x Crotch 
  • Waterproof material: 1 x Crotch 
  • Absorbent Material: 1 x Crotch (the smaller pattern piece)


absorbant crotch layer

Place the crotch absorbent layer (the smaller pattern piece) right side down (the moisture-wicking side if your material has one) onto the centre of the wrong side of the crotch lining layer. Use a zigzag stitch (2mm x 2mm) to sew all the way around the absorbent layer. Line up your zigzag stitch so the outside of the stitch slightly overhangs the absorbent layer. These stitches will be visible on the inside of your knickers so use a matching thread or one you are happy to be visible. 

Treat these as one piece for the following steps.

27 October 2021

How To Make Your Own Period Underwear! Part 1: Fabric & Alterations

How To Make Your Own Period Underwear

Period knickers convert? Fancy making your own eco-friendly pants for that time of the month?

 Following lots of requests, we're going to show you how to DIY your own period pants using the Iris knickers sewing pattern, thanks to this guest post by the pattern's designer, Hannah of Evie La Lùve. If you'd like to learn more about making your own underwear, Hannah teaches our online video workshop Learn to Sew Knickers, with video lessons packed full of tips and tricks. 

Over to Hannah!

Period pants have become increasingly popular over the last few years and while they may look like they require some magic fabrics and specialised equipment to make them, it is possible to DIY them! Making them yourself means you can create something tailored to your needs, whether that’s wanting to completely replace your disposable products for a more eco-friendly option, to use doubled up with a menstrual cup or tampons or for some comfy knickers to wear on those ‘due on’ days.

How To Make Your Own Period Underwear

The Iris knickers sewing pattern is perfect for adapting into period pants, especially as you can choose your leg and waist heights to suit the coverage you want. You’ll need to use FOE to finish the leg openings but a narrow stretch lace trim can still be used for the waist opening, which you may find more comfortable, particularly with the aches and pains that go along with periods for a lot of us!

So how do they work? These period pants have two additional layers of specialised fabrics that sit between the lining and main fabric at the crotch area. They’re designed to wick moisture away from your body, absorb it and then stop it leaking through to the outside of your knickers and beyond.

Choosing your fabric

Choosing your fabric

The first new fabric you will need is your absorbent material. There are a few options for this. I’m using a quilted bamboo ZorbⓇ but you can also use cotton ZorbⓇ, bamboo/cotton/hemp fleece or microfibre/bamboo/cotton terry towelling.

fabric examples

The second new fabric you will need is your waterproof material. You need a polyurethane laminated fabric, often referred to as a ‘PUL’ fabric. I’m using a bamboo fleece PUL material, which on the front (if you look closely) looks like a soft plush bamboo fleece, and on the back looks like it has a layer of clingfilm adhered to it. This is the waterproof barrier that will stop moisture from leaking out. 

20 October 2021

Tilly's Tips For Perfect Buttons

Here at Tilly and the Buttons, we love to encourage and support newbie sewists and something we hear again and again is that some of you out there avoid certain sewing projects because of buttons and the fear of sewing buttonholes. Well, we're here to change your mind and to show you that buttons don't need to be intimidating and can actually be rather satisfying to sew - trust us!

So please enjoy this round-up of Tilly's tips for perfect buttons, every time you sew...

Let's go right to the start, shall we? So you've got your lovely sewing project in front of you and you've reached the point where you need to start sewing your buttonholes. Eeek! 

Before you start stitching, double and triple-check the placement of the buttonholes because believe us - you don't want to unpick buttonhole stitching (unfortunately speaking from experience...)! These will be clearly marked by lines on your paper pattern, usually down the centre front pattern piece, and can be transferred onto your fabric with chalk or a washable pen. If you need a refresher, check out Tilly's recommended marking and cutting tools HERE.

With your clearly marked buttonholes, let's get to the main event, stitching the buttonholes...

13 October 2021

Sewing For The Season - Autumn!

Want some drool-worthy inspiration for sewing all the cosy, autumnal things? Sure you do! It’s Abi here (you may have seen my spring and summer sewing inspiration posts and vlogs this year too), I feel like I spend the majority of my year thinking "oh that would be perfect for autumn" - it's just such a satisfying time of year to sew and there always feels like there's a buzz online for sewing some snuggly new makes!

So here I am with my own autumn sewing plans and loooads for inspiration from the high street along with dreamy fabric picks. Grab a cuppa and enjoy this little lot...


Rock 'n' roll neck

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Roll neck tops are back in a big way. From fitted styles perfect for layering or slouchy styles ideal for snuggling up in. Whatever your roll neck preference we've got multiple styles to suit you! Go relaxed and retro with our classic Coco top, modern and oversized with Nora or try our fan-favourite Freya (from Tilly's book Stretch). 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

One of the perks of sewing your own clothes is that the possibilities are endless. Take Nora for example, you can use snuggly cable knit jersey fabric or even fleece-backed knits for something toasty (or check out this STUNNING Nora top made with teddy fabric!), or use something lightweight to layer her up for all your Autumn outfits. 

6 October 2021

Scrap Busting Iris - Join our Instagram Challenge!

We knew sewing knickers was going to be a great scrap busting sewing project. Just seeing the shapes of the Iris knickers pattern pieces in all the various styles you can whip up, you just know they're going to fit in somewhere when you cut out your next jersey top!


Inspired by Tilly's own scrap busting Iris knickers made using leftover fabric from her Tabitha T-shirt dress, we're celebrating matching our knickers to our outerwear with an October Instagram challenge encouraging you to get creative with your fabric leftovers and sew yourself some matching undies!

29 September 2021

How To Tie The Perfect Bow

The perfect finishing touch for your lingerie sewing projects and more, knowing how to tie the perfect bow by hand is a satisfying crafty skill and will finish off your Iris knickers beautifully.

Taken from our 'Learn to Sew Knickers' online workshop, in this extract Hannah from Evie La Lùve (our Iris collaborator and workshop teacher) will take you through how to hand-tie a gorgeous satin ribbon bow and how to attach it to your Iris knickers. Watch how in the video below, or alternatively follow our step-by-step instructions...


22 September 2021

Designing Combos & Choosing Supplies for Dreamy Iris Undies!

We understand that sewing lingerie can seem intimidating, especially when it comes to shopping for supplies like elastic and lace that you might not have encountered in your dressmaking sewing projects. But we promise you that sewing the Iris knickers isn't as scary as it can first seem and we're confident you'll find that too...

In this blog post, we'll be sharing all the details on our exciting knicker supply store, along with lots of inspiration and ideas for the kinds of combinations you can create with your sewing pattern, plus a peek at the hacks demonstrated in our online workshop